Confessions of a Malibu Real Estate Professional

If you’re planning on buying a dream home in Malibu, CA, here’s what you can expect.

Your business agent will call me while you are on set in Romania. We tour a few $10-$15 million homes in Latigo & Corral Canyons. You will find these too small for your entourage and insist on having four more bedrooms and two screening rooms. A call to my Guaranteed Rate Affinity Mortgage Broker pre-qualifies you for a super-jumbo jumbo loan of $35,000,000. Your Business Manager and I tour $50,000,000 properties and email you videos.

You hate three, but the fourth you love and quickly post to Instagram. Your publicist calls it a nice starter home in Malibu. The post goes viral just as your business manager and I present an offer. The Seller looks at her offers and responds with a slightly higher counter-offer contingent on her getting to remain living on property while she remodels the Beverly Hills zip code property she is downsizing into. After Romania you are playing Broadway for eight weeks. You accept her counteroffer. She will pay $35,000 per month for 45 prorated days after close of Escrow. The purchase is contingent on your super-jumbo loan getting funded, home inspection and the approval of an independent appraiser.

The seller opens escrow, and you make an earnest money deposit of 3%. You get your first lesson in closing costs as we will hire a small army of home inspectors. They verify that the home is not about to slide into the ocean. In addition to geology, they check for Radon, Mold, Wood-destroying organisms (termites, ants, etc.), and more. Less than a day later, they emailed the reports and bills to your business manager for review and payment: Wine cellar has a crack in the retaining wall, you call in a Foundation Inspector for a deeper look; Geology finds a crack in one of the caissons;  The leaky sink in the third guest room toilet gets a pass. We submit a “Request for Repairs.” The seller’s agent tells us the owner is furious and there’s nothing wrong with her home. Instead of making repairs, seller agrees to buy down your loan interest rate, lowering the interest rate you will pay.

Home insurance is purchased to be effective on the day escrow closes. Home warranty is purchased to cover any mechanical problems with the home. A home warranty is purchased to cover repairs of properly maintained household appliances and mechanical systems that fail due to normal wear and tear.

Your publicist sees you posting on Instagram. While on break from filming, you buy a Patek Philippe watch, diamonds all over it. She DMs you. Your assistant flies back to Switzerland to return it. The loan gets underwritten.

The appraiser ticks all the boxes and says the house is worth the loan. You remove contingencies. Loan is funded. Your funds are transmitted to Escrow. Your Business Manager and I do the final walk-through. Escrow closes, the seller pays lease-back costs. Your business manager hires a decorator. You kill on Broadway.

This is a fictionalized account of a first-time home buying process of a high-value property in Malibu. Names or similarity to people is coincidental. We have tried to keep the numbers and process similar to actual processes. Actual results will vary.

Smaller Malibu House with a pool
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Everyone wants to live in Malibu, and how can you blame them? The fantastic year-round weather, recreational outlets, upscale shopping spots, world-class dining, and fabulous California lifestyle are hard to replicate anywhere else in the world.

Malibu, CA, is a beachgoer’s paradise, with incredible sunny weather, 21 miles of gorgeous coastline, mountain vistas, and a relaxed vibe centered around the great outdoors. Along with this beachy atmosphere is a coveted real estate scene with stunning modern estates tucked into the hills and beachfront cottages along the coast with incredible views of the waves. Plus, Malibu is only about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles’ endless amenities. About 13,000 residents live in this oceanfront oasis, including notable celebrities, singers, artists, and entrepreneurs.

Malibu is jam-packed with year-round pastimes and activities. Unique boutiques entice those in need of retail therapy. Food enthusiasts will follow their noses to artisanal bakeries and gourmet food shops and indie cafes. Outdoor adventurers who walk, bike, hike, sunbathe, swim, bodyboard, and surf can all find what they need in Malibu’s hills, mountains, and beaches.

Malibu real estate is always a hot commodity thanks to its promise of seclusion and seaside living. Typically, homes for sale in Malibu see a strong seller’s market because of its highly sought-after location and gorgeous properties. A seller’s market means that more buyers are looking for homes than there are homes available for sale. However, as this summer is winding down, we are seeing the real estate market softening. The average sales prices are dropping and there are less offers per property. This is an excellent time to buy in Malibu.

You can choose from single family homes, condos, townhouses and even manufactured homes with views of the ocean. There are also parcels of land that you can buy. Because of the desirability of Malibu, it’s an excellent investment and can be a lucrative rental property investment.
The average sales price of a single family home hovers around $5.5M, and condos/townhomes are $1.4M.

If you’re enticed by this exciting location, this is a start to buying your first home in gorgeous Malibu.

Prepare for your home buying in Malibu

Illustration of what not to do just before buying a house

Before you start looking for your first home in Malibu, it’s essential to analyze and redirect your spending habits. If you look at your spending behaviors, such as travel, vehicle, and entertainment expenses, you could easily put away enough to save for your first home. It’s all about what you can prioritize.

It’s also important to remember that you must budget for required closing costs, which usually range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. This is a significant amount that your financial advisor can help you plan for.

Calculate your budget

Money fanned hiding a face

Not everyone can be amongst the home owning residents that enjoy this lifestyle. Before diving into such an enormous, costly decision, determine how much of a house you can realistically afford. The Dahls can help you get pre-approved for a loan, before you focus on the house you want in Malibu. Working with a professional financial advisor can also help you plan out your finances and understand exactly how much home you can afford to invest in.

Ready to get started?

Pick out some currently available properties you like on the Dahl Realty Home locator and reach out to the Dahl Realtors for expert guidance. Specializing in the stunning properties of Topanga, Pacific Palisades, and Malibu real estate, Greg and Jo Dee Dahl are an incredible duo on the luxury real estate scene. Let them be your guides to paradise.


Title: Confessions of a Malibu Real Estate Professional

Meta: If you’re planning on buying a dream home in Malibu, CA, here’s what you can expect.

URL: confessions-of-a-malibu-real-estate-professional-1

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